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Malaysian Student Recalls Fear During Temblor In NZ

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KUALA LUMPUR – “I wasn’t sure whether to run out of the house or hide under the table.

“At first, I thought it was a small quake but the (my) concussion became severe and then, I realised it wasn’t normal and started feeling scared.”

This was the predicament of Malaysian Clarissa Robert Jeyakumar when an earthquake occurred last Sunday in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Nevertheless, the student of the University of Canterbury gathered sufficient courage and stayed calm in the house the moment she became aware how serious the 10-second temblor was.

“I then contacted my parents in Kajang to assure them I was safe,” she said when contacted by Bernama today.

Jeyakumar, 21, who is Canterbury Malaysian Student Association vice-president (I) said she was alone at home when the earthquake occurred. Her three housemates were away at the time.

She said all students at student accommodation were at the university at that time, and were evacuated immediately and the buildings, inspected.

Jeyakumar, who is pursuing her Bachelor in Speech and Language Pathology, and resides in Upper Riccarton, Christchurch said she felt the quake lasted for 10 seconds.

“Thank God, nothing happened to the place where I was staying. There were other areas that were affected, especially those nearer to the beach area but not Upper Riccarton.

“All students are still on summer holidays and our classes begin on Feb 22…so far, we have not received any report on injured Malaysians or fatalities,” she said.

Meanwhile, another Malaysian, Adam Munang, 19, said he was at home with his brother, Albright, 18, when he suddenly felt severe tremors causing their laptops, books, cabinets and furniture to shake.

“The tremors were scary but we remained calm and hid under a table. This is our first experience (of a tremor).

“However, they (the tremors) have not scared us enough to leave Christchurch,” he told Bernama.

Adam, who holds a New Zealand permanent resident status and is pursuing a course in taxation and accounting at the same university, said it had been four years since he settled in Lincoln with his family, about 15-20km from the Christchurch city centre.

According to media reports, an earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale occurred near Christchurch, causing cliffs to collapse into the sea. No major damage was reported in the city.

In 2011, the city was hit by an earthquake, which left about 200 people dead. – BERNAMA

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